House passes union-backed trade deal one day after impeaching Trump

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The House of Representatives approved a trade deal between the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

On Thursday afternoon, the House of Representatives approved a trade agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

By a 385-41 vote, the House approved the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, a trade deal that will replace the Clinton-era North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. The vote came less than 24 hours after the House approved two articles of impeachment against Donald Trump.

Democrats and organized labor agreed to support the USMCA only after months of negotiations and changes to the original proposal, according to NPR. In early December, Speaker Nancy Pelosi told NPR that the final version "is infinitely better than what was initially proposed by the administration."

On Dec. 10, the AFL-CIO announced its support for the trade deal.

"Make no mistake, we demanded a trade deal that benefits workers and fought every single day to negotiate that deal," Richard Trumka, president of AFL-CIO, said at the time. "And now we have secured an agreement that working people can proudly support."

The new trade deal "makes critical improvements to a 25-year-old trade agreement to address 21st century issues, support workers, and improve our environment," Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA), chair of the moderate New Democrat Coalition, said in a statement after the vote.

While Democrats largely backed the measure, some Republicans have voiced skepticism.

"From my perspective, it's not as good as I'd hoped," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier this month.

Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, went even further, calling the new deal "terrible," "counterproductive," and a step "backwards."

Earlier this week, Trump railed against Democrats, accusing Pelosi and her House colleagues of being the "Do Nothing party." Even Thursday morning, Trump complained about the impeachment vote, claiming the "Do Nothings are so bad for our Country!"

In reality, the Democratic-led House has passed roughly 400 bills, most of which have been stalled by inaction on the part of McConnell. Since January, the House has passed bills on gun safety, LGBTQ equality, health care, lowering prescription drugs costs, and election security.

Despite Trump's claims to the contrary, just this week the House impeached Trump, passed a historic trade agreement, and passed a funding bill to keep the government open past Friday.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.